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Thread: Local Hero

  1. #21
    Senior Member Country: Wales David Challinor's Avatar
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    Is there any better film to sum that sinking feeling (sorry about the Forsythe pun) of the ending of a treasured holiday? I shall buy my first observer in years to get on it on DVD later today.

    My home town footy team - Tranmere Rovers - always play its credit roll music Going Home at the end of a game...

  2. #22
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    Donald Trump's mother is Scottish, she is from the Isle of Lewis and travelled to America around 1930 where she met Trumps father. Trump is proud of his Scottish heritage and its no coincidence that he chose Scotland for his golfing project. Trump proposes to build the best and most luxurious golf course/hotel in the world near Aberdeen, bringing investment and jobs to the area. Trump has said the owner of the croft in the midst of the proposed site was ready and willing to sell but keeps upping his price and pushing to see how much he can get....fair enough, I suppose. The owner of the croft has said it is a point of principle and that he will never sell to Trump. I would imagine he has possibly gone stir crazy after all these years living in a desolate windswept croft with only sheep for company or he is being very shrewd and clever! Trump should watch Local Hero and pay close attention to the scene where Fulton McKay picks up a handful of sand and says, " if you give me a dollar for every grain of sand in my hand I'll sell"......your call Mr Trump!

  3. #23
    Senior Member Country: Wales
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    Quote Originally Posted by MB
    I couldn't find another thread?

    Anyway, this film is being given away with the Guardian at the weekend, I believe.

    I haven't seen it for a long while, but I remember really enjoying it.
    I watched this last night and loved it. It was slightly different to how I had remembered it and I had forgotten much of it. I think I must have been about thirteen when I saw it, so it was almost as if watching it afresh. (I had to go to a couple of places to find an Observer, so obviously, some others has the same idea.)



    From watching it from this point of view I am guessing that he has hugely influenced a number of people…Richard Curtis…



    However, obviously, Bill Forsyth is masterful at using subtle touches rather than any heavy exposition (waiting for the dog to get out of the way as they arrive, I wonder how long it took them to get the dog to do that without wandering off before the right time) the rabbit being called ‘Trudie’…(although, I wish he hadn’t explained that..I love it when they make you do a bit of work as well.)



    Sometimes I wanted a little bit more…emotion! But I think that is down to personal taste, I’m sure a lot of people really appreciate this quiet approach as a welcome relief from..everything else…



    Some of the quirkiness was a teeny bit laboured, also you know the outcome from the off, but, which is Ok and why not, I suppose..the unexpected came from the quirky add ins, so it balanced up nicely..



    I have discovered Burt Lancaster – isn’t he superb in this!?



    It’s supremely life-affirming isn’t it, but never becomes mawkish, or blinkered…that surely takes great skill... I don’t understand why Bill Forsyth has not done more?

  4. #24
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Bill Forsyth remembers the making of Local Hero

    * Euan Ferguson

    * The Observer,

    * Sunday September 28 2008



    It is, of course, alchemy, all of it, nothing but damned alchemy. They're modern necromancers, the whole of the film-making industry, and the business of how on earth anything gets made, or works (or, equally entertainingly, fails) has filled many fascinating books. And one of the fascinating things about alchemy is the injection of time to the equation: because elements settle, and alter, and morph; and, today, after a quarter of a century or whatever, we can see what remained lead, and what became gold.



    It was exactly 25 years ago when Bill Forsyth made Local Hero. It's still regularly hailed as one of the quiet must-see little masterpieces of British cinema: I can think of few friends, of all ages and backgrounds, without a copy nestling happily on some shelf, brought out on cold nights. The marvel is that it has lasted so tremendously well. It is, in some ways, of its time. A nefarious American oil company sends a yuppie ingenu to Scotland to buy a beach. He meets sturdy, feisty locals, falls in love, sees the Northern Lights, changes his mind about the oil business. In one late-ish crucial scene we see his pager, black and American and Eighties and very bleepy, burbling itself to death in a rock-pool. Back in his Manhattan loft, with his absurd trappings, he can think only of the locals, the lights, the beach, the pub, the phone box. Which he calls.



    As, apparently, have hundreds, thousands of tourists down the years. Pennan in Aberdeenshire, where half the film was shot, still has, or at least did on my last visit, admittedly a few years ago, the same phone box. The guys in the bar opposite were getting a bit fed up, called out nightly through the rain to the ringing box, to chat to some Japanese couple who had taken its number on their trip, and wanted the same sense of phone contact with which the film ends. It is huge physical testament, if infuriating for the crofter wanting a quiet dram, to the global appeal, perennial success, of a home-funded, home-made Scottish Eighties film.



    Yes, Burt Lancaster was on board. Producer David Puttnam says now it couldn't really have happened without that: despite the genius of Forsyth - a rising star after Gregory's Girl - they still needed a big Hollywood name.



    Yes, Mark Knopfler did the music (and Dire Straits were the band of the moment, the soundtrack going on to outsell video sales of the film itself). But. But. There had to be something else. What's made this last, when so much other celluloid from those days should have been dumped straight back into the alchemist's chalice?



    'It's probably the deficiences in it,' says Forsyth, now 60, speaking from his home near Loch Lomond. 'I don't think it was a manipulative film. If I'd known how to, at the time, I could have made it more manipulative. I'm not trying to be coy, but I've never had a great understanding for commercial cinema. A film-maker with more nous would have been more manipulative.



    'I hesitate to use the word "innocence" about it, because the characters have attitude, have stories, have views, I don't think it was too innocent a film. But if there was a layer of purpose or intent missing, a layer of manipulation - here's where we want the audience to feel this, or that, I've always truly hated that - then, perhaps, that's been its secret, if you like.'



    Forsyth says he hasn't watched it for about 20 years. 'I don't really do that. I'll see mistakes!' One, he admits, was completely his own, fortunately over-ridden. 'Looking back, you'd hardly credit it, but I didn't want music. I was a bit of an egghead about film: I was of this puritan streak that if you had to put music in it then you had, somehow, failed. I am proud to admit I was very, very wrong. Mark's [Knopfler] music helped make the film and I am very, very grateful to him. Plus, it wasn't one of those deals you often get with the composer, where the first inkling they get of the film is after it's made, in some grotty studio in Soho. Mark, because we'd wanted him to be involved with the ceilidh music - he wrote all of it, in the end - was on set, around, getting the feel, talking to the locals, picking up the atmosphere.



    'I really was quite naive. Then. Probably still am. I couldn't, for instance, see how the settings could mesh. I'd just written down - I wanted the village here, the beach there, the church there. The place, such a place, couldn't be found. I was very confused when the location guys said, fine, let's shoot the village on one side of Scotland, the beach on the west. I couldn't get my head around it. And, of course, it worked. I remember settling on Pennan, on the very last day I could: I had a gun to my head, and had to make the phone call by five that day to confirm. I made the phone call, just before five. Yes, from that blooming phone box.'



    According to Puttnam, 'One of the reasons it all worked, still works, is because it was a very honest film. It didn't pretend the villagers didn't want to sell up. It has classic elements of absolute chaos, back to the kind of writing of Victorian times - Trollope, Pooter. Although it was, yes, telling a story from its time, there were certain classic elements. The wise old man on the beach is a staple, down centuries.



    'Also, perhaps it's lasted because the very experience of making it was so enjoyable. It was as if we'd all gone on holiday and someone had remembered to bring a camera. Looking back, too, it was probably the first mainstream entertaining film that ever questioned the complexity of ecology.'



    Bill Forsyth is immensely grateful still to Puttnam and co - do you remember those heady days of 'The British are coming!' - for the 'luxury, very rare in those days, of being paid. I got paid to write it. Because Puttnam had got involved, we knew that a) we had funding, and b) it was, come what may, going to be released. That was unusual. Very.



    'But I think some of them maybe had more fun making it than me. I had, all the time, rewrites. Something up with the cast, or a location: rewriting 24 hours a day. That's what you have to do. Yes, the others had a good time, I do think. Immersed themselves. There were... romances.



    'You know, I haven't actually watched it for about 20 years myself. It is a surprise, a delight, that people still like it. Local Hero never did massive business. It was well received, but it never made a pile, it wasn't in the year's top 10 films or anything. It washed its face, modestly. I think there's still some kind of financial record associated with Gregory's Girl. We made it for �200,000. Less, in fact. We had a great accountant, we actually handed �8,000 back to the investors! So when that goes on to make five million or whatever - but these were different, different times.



    'Yes, you probably could still make Local Hero today, but I don't actually know who'd want to. Young film-makers today, they seem to have too much pressure on them to arrive with a film, their second or third or whatever, to make a big publicity statement. Rather than just, you know, make a film. With Local Hero, we were lucky with the funding, with the time it gave me to write: but we were slackers! We were stumbling into the limelight!



    'Also, I don't want you to think there was some deliberate message. You talk about the plot, but was there one? I mean, people can look back and say, oh, this was all an early one about the environment or whatever, but it didn't happen that way, or if it did it was accidental. I'm not political, either in film or personally, and I don't really do plot, and certainly don't aim to broadcast a "message". I suppose I like to tell stories. And if I'm writing a film, and don't really have a plot, then you have to fill the screen with something, so I try to do so with characters, incidents. The aurora borealis, for instance: I hadn't had any plans about that, but that year I was writing Local Hero I found myself up in Orkney, doing a short film for the BBC with Cyril Cusack, and I saw the aurora one night, first time ever, on the beach. So: that went in. It was all a bit like that.'



    Forsyth is still involved with films, collaborating this winter with his friend, producer Iain Smith, on something 'supernatural, cold, stark'. Age has, he says, brought him something: if not wisdom, then a smidgen more self-knowledge. 'To have, at this age, the realisation that maybe I got some things wrong is quite nice, in a way. The main problem is I think I was too full of irony, that laid-back irony. Watching from the wings. It's a very Scottish thing, holding up the kitchen wall at parties, casting comment from the sidelines. Hiding in the wings. I don't know, after all these years, whether that really was the way to have gone. Maybe I've found out in time. Maybe I'll have some time to fix that, get things more right.'

    Where the stars are now



    Burt Lancaster (Felix Happer): Film projects included thriller The Osterman Weekend (1983) and Field of Dreams (1989). Died on 20 October 1994.



    Peter Riegert ('Mac' MacIntyre): Appeared in 1994 comedy The Mask and drama Traffic (2000), and in The Sopranos



    Denis Lawson (Gordon Urquhart): Directed a 1999 production of Little Malcolm & His Struggle Against the Eunuchs with his nephew Ewan McGregor in the starring role. Appeared in the 2005 BBC adaptation of Bleak House



    Peter Capaldi (Danny Oldsen): Played spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in TV political satire The Thick of It



    Fulton Mackay (Ben Knox): Appeared alongside Michael Caine in 1986 comedy Water. Died on 6 June 1987.



    Jenny Seagrove (Marina): Co-starred in The Letter at Wyndham's Theatre in 2007.



    Mark Knopfler (composed the film's soundtrack): Released Brothers in Arms with his band Dire Straits in 1985. It is the fifth bestselling British album of all time.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Country: England mrs_emma_peel's Avatar
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    Local Hero – 25th Anniversary Tribute by film critic Mark Kermode



    Just caught this excellent feature, last night on BBC2’s The Culture Show, on the wonderful Local Hero - to mark the film’s 25th anniversary and features a very rare interview with the film’s writer and director Bill Forsyth.

    Local Hero is one of Mark Kermode’s favourite films (and one of mine too)



    The Culture Show - Local Hero - An Appreciation by Mark Kermode
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=US&hl=uk&v=FOe2qckPh2k

    Edited and adapted article from Aberdeen City Council

    Pennan’s Local Hero Celebrates 25th Anniversary




    In 1983, the small coastal village of Pennan in Aberdeenshire was one of the main film locations for Bill Forsyth’s much loved 1980s classic Local Hero. Now, 25 years on, the Aberdeen City and Shire Film Office has been working with the BBC2’s flagship arts programme The Culture Show, to help celebrate the 25th anniversary of one of the masterpieces of British cinema.



    Celebrations include interviews by The Culture Show’s presenter and film critic, Mark Kermode, with Scottish Local Hero Director, Bill Forsyth. There was a free screening of the film in the Pennan Village Hall, along with an introduction and small presentation to Bill Forsyth. The evening will then come to a spectacular conclusion with a performance by the Acetones ceilidh band, which originally featured as the ceilidh band in Local Hero.



    Pennan residents reflect upon their memories of the making of the film. With a few of the locals still living in and around Pennan, and some having made appearances as extras in the film, the evening was an opportunity to relive these experiences, talking around how the success of the film has both affected the village and people living there.



    The events were captured on film by The Culture Show on 3rd/4th November 2008, for a 9 minute segment, broadcast on Friday, 21st November 2008.



    The story of Local Hero tells the tale of a Texas oil billionaire called Happer, (Burt Lancaster) with a passion for astronomy, who sends an employee called MacIntyre (because he has a Scottish sounding name) to Furness (Pennan), near Aberdeen, Scotland, to buy the entire village property rights, (and also to search for the elusive and magical Northern Lights) where they plan to build an oil refinery. The canny locals cannot believe their luck, and are soon arguing over the boot space of a Maserati ... and look forward to their new fortunes ...

    "I wonder what the poor people are doing tonight ..."



    Aberdeen City and Shire Film Officer Neil Shirran said:

    “This was a fantastic event. Local Hero is a personal favourite of mine, so I’m extremely pleased that the BBC’s Culture Show is helping celebrate its 25th anniversary. Local Hero is not only a great Scottish (funded and made) international success, it also serves as a prime example of the benefit of film tourism to not only Pennan, but Aberdeenshire and Scotland.”

  6. #26
    Senior Member Country: Canada
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    I have tried this comparison on another forum with no agreement.



    The folks there are well-informed, but it's worth another go.



    I believe LOCAL HERO is a re-telling of BRIGADOON. 20th century men cross into another place. There are no leprechauns, but from the misty road on the moor where they hit the rabbit, they cross into a new world.



    Enchantment comes slowly, but the young ambitious USA oil man and his Brit partner lose their motive. Best of all, they infect their hard-driven Houston boss, Burt Lancaster and bring him into the enchantment. Hmm.

  7. #27
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    I love this film - Burt Lancaster is superb as the slightly whacky US CEO.

  8. #28
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Mark Kermode took Bill Forsyth back to Pennan for an edition of The Culture Show on BBC2. They showed the film in the village hall and Bill said a few words to the locals (heroes one and all). Mark interviewed Bill as they sat in a few iconic places in and around the village



    Steve

  9. #29
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    Sad to relate that the famous (and very real) Inn used for the filming of the pub scenes at Pennan has closed.



    The owners were looking for a buyer, but it seems there were no takers.



    Still time if any of you out there fancy being a real life Gordon Urquhart . . ?



    Take it away Andrew . . .




  10. #30
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    it seems to me to be an atypical English film.



    In fact, until reminded on seeing the film name in this post, I had forgetten it was an English film.



    The use of a name American actor strikes me as a technique much more typical of Italian films (La Strada and spaghetti Westerns come to mind).



    Still, a standout film. I'll have to give it a look again now...



    Egraphic

  11. #31
    Senior Member Country: Scotland narabdela's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egraphic
    it seems to me to be an atypical English film.

    In fact, until reminded on seeing the film name in this post, I had forgetten it was an English film.

    The use of a name American actor strikes me as a technique much more typical of Italian films (La Strada and spaghetti Westerns come to mind).

    Still, a standout film. I'll have to give it a look again now...



    Egraphic
    English film!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. #32
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by narabdela
    English film!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Yes, very English



    Steve

  13. #33
    Senior Member Country: England
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    Yes, this has to be my favourite from any age of the cinema! I wonder if it struck a chord with audiences in the 1980s-wiz kids & get rich quick schemes (Mac) as against a beauitful, peaceful laid back life in a beautiful part of the world. A quirky film full of characters with their own particular traits & quirks, (Gideon) asking if there are two Gs in Bu**ar off! By the end of the film, a sad moment, when Stella watches Mac's helicopter fly away & she has a look of what if? on her face. Mac & Happer's wheeling & dealing meet their match with Ben and his grains of sand. Yes, a wonderful, uplifting film with charm and no big Hollywood type of drama or production which so easily could have ruined this film.

  14. #34
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    There's a Connections programme about this GREAT film tomorrow on BBC1 - about 10.30 ish. Enjoy!

  15. #35
    Senior Member Country: England mrs_emma_peel's Avatar
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    Bill Forsyth's magical beautifully crafted and photographed film Local Hero (1983) is one of film critic Mark Kermode’s favourite films (and one of mine too). David Puttnam has said Local Hero is the finest film he ever produced ...

    and the film of which he is most proud.

    2008 was the 25th anniversary of one of the masterpieces of British cinema.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=US&hl=uk&v=R4WQZbGMrl4








    The story of Local Hero tells the tale of Texas oil billionaire, Felix Happer, (Burt Lancaster) with a passion for astronomy, who sends an employee called MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) (because MacIntyre is a Scottish sounding name) to Furness (Pennan), near Aberdeen, Scotland, to buy the entire village property rights, (and also to search for the elusive and magical Northern Lights) where they plan to build an oil refinery.



    The canny locals cannot believe their luck, and are soon arguing over the boot space of a Maserati ...

    and look forward to their new fortunes ...

    "I wonder what the poor people are doing tonight ..."

  16. #36
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    I'm sure it's a triffic flick, but..... that that trailer qualifies as one of the worst I have ever seen!

  17. #37
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    It is a great film, don't be put off by that. The sentimental aspect they are playing up here is nicely balanced with a down to earth humour. In fact, I'd hazard a guess that Bill Forsyth would find that trailer pretty amusing too.

  18. #38
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    I see what you mean. I think anyone watching that would be totally confused. Perhaps that was the idea - make them want to investigate.



    Apparantly, the director does have a say. But, not much, I should think..



    It is as if they have the same bloke, sat in a room in the dark and he has to think up the trailers - no matter what they are and he had enough in about 1988 but they're still making him do it.



    They are often pretty similiar and come at it from a set view of the world.

  19. #39
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Further watching: Local Hero

    A prescient anti-corporate and pro-environmental swipe from an earlier, pre-Kyoto era



    The thunderous persuasive power of the United States bears down upon simple Scottish ideals, but with surprisingly ineffective results. At the last minute, seemingly limitless American resources are employed to persuade a single intransigent Scottish man to change his mind. But the Yanks fail, the Scot triumphs and everything changes. Sound familiar? No, it�s not the al-Megrahi affair, but a bare-bones narrative outline of Bill Forsyth�s 1983 classic, Local Hero.



    And yet as Scottish goods and produce, in the fallout from that debacle, come under fire from American consumers (forcing Harris Tweed to remove the Och-Aye factor from its brand), it�s rewarding to revisit Forsyth�s film for its manifold modern resonances. The story, for instance, has aged incredibly well, and its description of a giant Texan oil company (it is named Knox Oil, but it could be Halliburton) invading a tiny principality to create what company stooge Oldsen (Peter Capaldi) calls, �The petrochemical capital of the free world�, has both a geopolitical and environmental zing to it.



    Indeed one of the most poignant exchanges in the film occurs between Oldsen and his American counterpart MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) on the sands of �Ferness� beach (actual location: Morar, on the West Coast). Here, surrounded by natural splendour, they imagine a world without oil � no perspex, no polythene, and no plastics. It�s a prescient anti-corporate and pro-environmental swipe from an earlier pre-Kyoto era. And still, Local Hero, like shortbread, kilts and Harris Tweed, is just the sort of product that would suffer under any anti-Scottish backlash, for it nurtures a twee version of national identity that verges on Brigadoon bliss (and was eventually demolished in 1996 by Danny Boyle�s Trainspotting).



    Yet the movie has subtleties too, and a compulsory viewing for angry Americans might offer an insight into the rural origins of the Scottish psyche. It might explain compassion. And it might explain simplicity. And, who knows, the Yankee indignitaries might even find themselves echoing Knox Oil boss Burt Lancaster�s final line of the movie: �Oldsen! I could grow to love this place!�



    Kevin Maher

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